So much of life is about building and maintaining healthy relationships. Strong social skills are so valuable, which is why we place such a huge emphasis on the social aspect when hiring tutors – an ability to connect and relate to a student is just as important as a strong academic record in my eyes.
A big part of this comes down to the first impression we make when we meet someone. Research suggests that we make a judgement about someone within 7 seconds of meeting them to determine if we trust them or not. You also never get a second chance to make a first impression, so it crucial to get it right the first time.
Here are 5 ways to make an incredible first impression, whether you be a tutor meeting a student for the first time, preparing for a job interview or taking a girl out on a date:
1. Be on time
This is so simple but so important. If you have arranged to meet someone or scheduled a session with a student, arrive on time. Being late is disrespectful. Arriving on time let’s the other person know that you value them and respects their time.
A smile is the easiest form of persuasion. Few things build trust like a genuine eye-wrinkling smile – not a fake grin, but an real smile that brings out the lines next to your eyes. Whenever you meet anyone for the first time smile and let them know without saying a word how happy you are to see them.
3. Be presentable
Remember how I said it only takes 7 seconds to decide if you like someone? You have got to assume most of that is non-verbal – so how you look is really important.
No one likes being told what to wear; I get that. But I think it is important to dress in a way that matches the person you are meeting. It is just as easy to over-dress than it is under; don’t wear a suit to the beach, don’t wear track pants to a job interview. Be clean and well groomed and look confident in how you present yourself.
4. Use their name
When they tell you their name, aim to repeat it back (naturally) a few times in the first few minutes. Using their name let’s them feel valued and unique, and you are far more likely to remember it next time.
5. Be attentive
Pay close attention to what they are doing and saying. Read their body language – are they pulling away from you, and therefore you need to give them some more space? Are they smiling and grinning back as you crack a joke, and can therefore be a bit more informal with them? The better you can read people, the better your first impression will go.
Good luck and make your first impression count!